Australasian Barista Award Winner Credits NZ Hospitality Industry
Posted by Mark Devlin
Vishal Dhiman of Muffin Break Albany takes out third place in Australasian competition. The University of Auckland trained barista accredits his win to experience and education.
Aucklander says the past three years honing his barista skills in New Zealand are behind his recent win of a top Australasian award.
Dhiman won third place at the Muffin Break Best Barista Competition in Sydney, beating some of the top baristas from New Zealand and Australia.
Dhiman moved to New Zealand from India to enhance his barista career, which started with a year’s experience in his hometown of Chandigarh.
The Muffin Break Albany manager, who studied Hospitality Management at The University of Auckland, is thrilled to have made his mark here and across the Tasman.
“I love representing New Zealand, as it’s now my home,” says Dhiman. “Plus the training and support I have received from my time at Muffin Break and The University of Auckland have helped me to achieve my goals as a barista. It has also given me the opportunity to travel to Australia, for the first time, to showcase my coffee-making skills, which was amazing. I’ve wanted to go there ever since I was in India.”
In preparation for his recent Sydney jaunt, Dhiman made more than 700 coffees. However, it was his extensive New Zealand hospitality experience and education that made Vishal a serious competitor and allowed him to take home the third place prize.
The latte art aficionado, 26, is so pleased with his efforts that he is keeping his trophy beside his bed.
“It’s the first thing I see when I wake up and last thing I see at night. Hopefully next year it’ll be the winning trophy!”
Dhiman relishes making every coffee; he counts it as practice for future overseas competitions.
His boss, Muffin Break Albany owner Angelo De Vincenzo, says it felt like destiny when Dhiman came to him looking for a job.
“He came to us so raw but so full of passion from day one. He said that if I gave him a chance he’d prove that he could do it and he has,” De Vincenzo says.
“Vishal’s always taken every opportunity and excelled. His family in India can be very proud of him. My wife won’t let anyone else make her quarter strength large latte.”
The Muffin Break Best Barista Competition saw Dhiman make a signature drink (an espresso with a berry infusion), a cappuccino, and an espresso for each of the four judges, totalling 12 drinks all in just 15 minutes.
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